April 19, 2017 / 12:24 PM / 4 months ago

Sri Lankan shares up 1 pct as foreign buying hits near 3-yr high

COLOMBO, April 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose more than one percent to end at a six-month high on Wednesday as foreign investors increased the pace of stock purchases, with the net single-day inflow hitting its highest in nearly three years.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 4.32 billion rupees ($28.42 million), led by buying in top lender Commercial bank of Ceylon on Wednesday, the highest since May 9, 2014, exchange data showed.

Commercial bank of Ceylon jumped 3.2 percent and accounted for about 84 percent of the day's turnover.

Overseas investors have bought equities worth a net 9.72 billion in 19 straight sessions, taking the year-to-date net foreign inflow into equities to 12.22 billion rupees.

The Colombo stock index ended 1.01 percent firmer at 6,446.80, its highest close since Oct. 21. The market his risen in 13 sessions out of 14.

The index has climbed 7.9 percent in the 14 sessions up to Wednesday.

"Renewed foreign buying interest is coming in. But still, we do not see local investors, except for a few retail investors," said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Sri Lanka is in the process of raising up to $1.5 billion through sovereign bonds in the near future.

Turnover stood at 5.17 billion rupees ($34.01 million), the highest since Dec. 8 and more than three times this year's daily average of 863.7 million rupees.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 1.1 percent, while private listed lender Sampatyh bank posted 3.7 percent growth on the day.

$1 = 152.0000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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